Political turmoil in Tunisian cabinet after party withdrawal

Published 18.07.2018 20:35

A Tunisian party yesterday withdrew from the government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed amid calls for the premier to step down. In a statement, the Social Democratic Path party said it is "no longer interested in the government's future, policies… or tensions and conflicts that have nothing to do with national interest," according to the Anadolu Agency (AA).

The party has only one minister in Chahed's government, which has been under fire in recent months over worsening economic conditions in the country amid calls for the prime minister to resign.

Earlier this week, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi called on the prime minister to quit or seek a confidence vote if the country's political and economic crisis continues. "If this situation continues, the prime minister must resign or go to the parliament to ask for confidence," he told local Nesma TV.

Tunisia has been hailed as the Arab Spring's only democratic success because protests toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering violent upheaval, as happened in Syria and Libya. But since then nine cabinets have failed to resolve economic problems including high inflation and unemployment, and impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have kept the country afloat.

Seven prime ministers have failed to fix a sluggish economy. Turmoil and militant attacks have deterred investors and tourists, eroding living standards of ordinary people and causing an increase in unemployment. Annual inflation hit a record high of 7.8 percent in June as the dinar currency tanked, making food imports more expensive.

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